All About Jazz, John Eyles, November 2022

All About Jazz
John Eyles November 2022

COLLIDER Matchless Recordings mrcd108

The festivities that accompanied drummer Eddie Prevost's eightieth birthday in 2022 (including four Saturday night concerts at London's Café Oto, each celebrating a different facet of his career) served to highlight the breadth and depth of his activities and talents, and to open some audience members' eyes to previously undiscovered aspects of him.

Prévost's highest profile activities in recent years have been his membership of AMM (the influential free improvisation group he joined in 1965 and has remained a member of ever since) plus his stewardship of the London Improvisers Workshop, the weekly two-hour meeting of which has happened practically ever Friday since he inaugurated it in 1999.

Each of those activities was celebrated at its own concert at Café Oto, whereas the other two concerts featured Prévost drumming in ways that are very different to those in AMM or the workshop, and more akin to Max Roach, Elvin Jones and Art Blakey, all of whom Prévost says he admires in this album's sleeve notes. Incidentally, those sleeve notes serve as reminders of another string to Prévost's bow, his writings about music, best illustrated by his four books to date; Prévost says the sleeve notes here are "a further loose-leaf chapter to my on- going testament: An Uncommon Music for the Common Man" (Copula, 2020).

This album, Collider, is a recording of a drum solo concert at Network Theatre, London, on February 6th 2012 and follows in the footsteps of three earlier studio-recorded Prévost solo albums on his Matchless label, Loci of Change recorded in 1996, Material Consequences recorded in 2001, and Entelechy recorded in 2005. Taken together, those four albums paint a varied and detailed portrait of Prévost the percussionist, with Collider adding details which are very different from those on the other three. So, the opening track, "Sticking it," is a twenty-six-minute drum solo, the likes of which would surely never be seen in AMM or the Workshop; along the way, he displays all the essentials of a good drum solo—rhythm, power, speed, variety, emotional peaks and troughs...

Then, lo and behold, he does the same again for thirty-two minutes on the album's closing track "Sticking it too," producing a solo very different to the opening one but just as distinctive and powerful. On this evidence, it is clear why Prévost was nicknamed the Art Blakey of Brixton back in the '60s. In between the two epic solos, on "Hands, brush, hands," Prévost produces a more low-key, less energetic thirteen-minute solo which will sound far more familiar to his twenty-first century followers. It serves as a reminder of just how varied his drumming can be and how he can switch depending on who he is playing with. Collider—or, 'whose drum is it, anyway? is essential listening for anyone with even a passing interest in Eddie Prévost or drumming more generally...